It’s been just under a month of tremendous bike racing since the Barry-Roubaix kicked off the Michigan cycling season. After a  few races and some big wins, who’s Top Banana in the Mitten?

The prize? A nice big bunch of bananas and your choice of 6-pack of Short’s Brewery’s finest, courtesy of kolo t.c. The ultimate goal is to establish the top rider at any given point of the season, balancing as easily as possible road, cross and MTB results. We won’t have a full idea of who’s on form until the conclusion at the Iceman in November, but we will surely have a lot of fun along the way.

After putting three major races through the grist mill, and using some highly complex formula to determine race size, competition, distance, and pedigree, we’ve got a short list with which to work. The three major races thus far have been the Barry-Roubaix, the Rust Shaker and Yankee Springs Time Trial. Due to a relatively low cap at Fisk Knob, and as it is the only road race, we’ll have to politely exclude those results.

The Barry-Roubaix is a huge test and results there should count for an awful lot. kolo t.c. has developed a race rating system of 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 for this scenario, with decimal places serving for unusually large or competitive races. The only issue with this  race is the cyclocross/mountain bike dilemma. Do you handicap riders with a CX bike over those on fat tires? It should definitely play a part. For example, Dan Korienek and Jorden Wakeley’s placing on MTBs is all the more impressive when you consider the CX bikes they had to keep up with (and stay away from) all the boys on skinny tires. Mike Anderson’s win over Brian Matter was close and important, counting huge for our completely fabricated points system here. Let’s give Anderson 20 points for the win, -1 for each placing in the Top Twenty, giving 20th place 1.

1 20 Mike Anderson North Country Cycle Sport 23 2:51:05 21.7
2 19 Brian Matter Gear Grinder/bontrager 34 2:51:08 21.7
3 18 Nathaniel Williams Bissell Abg Nuvo 30 2:51:57 21.6
4 17 Shawn Adams Carbon Racing 37 2:52:39 21.5
5 16 Steve Broglio Lathrup Industries/giant Bicycles 37 2:52:39 21.5
6 15 Dan Korienek Leadout Racing/kentwood Cycling And 39 2:57:30 21.0
7 14 Ernesto Marenchin* Carbon Racing 40 2:57:31 21.0
8 13 Adam York Cleveland Clinic Sports Health 26 2:57:32 21.0
9 12 Michael Simonson Rbs Mtb Team 32 2:57:37 20.9
10 11 Matthew Light Alderfer Bergen Racing For Riley 24 2:58:24 20.9
11 10 Robert Foshag Lathrup Industries/giant Bicycles 43 2:58:25 20.9
12 9 Daniel Lam Bissell-Abg-Nuvo 36 2:58:25 20.9
13 8 Mac Brennan Bissell Abg Nuvo 21 2:58:25 20.9
14 7 Alan Antonuk Priority Health 28 2:58:25 20.9
15 6 Aaron Cruikshank Carbon Racing 27 2:58:26 20.8
16 5 Jorden Wakeley Einstein Racing 21 2:58:26 20.8
17 4 Clint Verran Paint Creek Bicycles 36 2:58:29 20.8
18 3 Michael Hemme Chicago.Cx 32 2:58:34 20.8
19 2 Paul Mumford Kinky Llama Racing 27 2:58:34 20.8
20 1 Alex Vanias Bissell Abg Nuvo

On to the Rust Shaker. A race that is growing in popularity every year and well-deserving of its reputation for a fast, hard but thoroughly enjoyable bike race. Two big, big differences here from Barry-Roubaix: size and style. Rust Shaker still has just over 100 racers a year, while there were age groups nearly that size at Barry. However, it’s a true mountain bike race. No bike handicaps, and a level playing field for everyone involved. It’s mid-April time slot also gives Michigan homebodies like Jorden Wakeley and Jurrien Davison a bit more time to get in shape, while the other riders who took trips don’t hold as much as a fitness advantage. Riders like Chad Wells, Mitchell DeYoung and Eric Forrester were able to demonstrate their abilities without a big crowd of ‘crossies in the way. Anderson won by four tenths of a second over Jorden Wakeley. We’ll call Rust Shaker a 3.0 race, worth 10 points to the winner and -1 for each rider in the Top Ten.

Finally, this Sunday’s Yankee Springs Time Trial was a massive success for the Cross Country Cycle contingent across many age categories, though the tough Freewheeler himself, Dan McGraw took the coveted and hotly contested 30-39 group. With Jorden Wakeley winding down ahead of his true target of the month, the Cohutta 100 in Tennessee, riders had one less animal with which to contend. The tight, twisty route of just over ten miles was a two-lap affair for the Elites. Of note, it appears as if nearly every Elite rider had their second lap come in just about one minute slower. A flying start and an equally impressive second effort was the requirement of the day for a strong showing, and once again, Mike Anderson took the win for his North Country Cycle Sport team. We’ll call Yankee a 2.o race, with 15 points for first and -1 for the Top Fifteen.

1 Mike Anderson 15 NORTH COUNTRY CYCLE SPORT 42:36 43:10 1:25:46.3
2 Mark Parmelee 14 CYCLETHERAPY 42:56 43:51 1:26:46.7
3 John Cowan 13 NORTH COUNTRY CYCLE SPORT 43:13 44:08 1:27:21.8
4 Niel Scharphorn 12 CROSS COUNTRY CYCLE 44:23 45:30 1:29:53.3
5 Matthew Light 11 ALDERFER BERGEN RACING FOR RILEY 44:53 45:20 1:30:12.7
6 Dan Korienek 10 LEADOUT RACING/WEST MICHIGAN BIKE AND FITNESS 44:21 46:28 1:30:49.0
7 Joe Thomas 9 CMS RACING 45:33 46:04 1:31:37.3
8 Shawn Davison 8 FARM TEAM RACING 45:34 46:34 1:32:08.0
9 Earl Hillaker 7 FOUNDERS ALGER RACING 45:14 47:14 1:32:28.3
10 Kyle
Stange
6 CYCLEFIT 45:59 47:17 1:33:16.3
11 Dan Krajcovic 5 CYCLETHERAPY SPECIALIZED RACING 46:20 47:16 1:33:35.4
12 Gunner Dygert 4 BICYLE OUTFITTERS INDY 46:11 48:08 1:34:18.2
13 Chad Wells 3 NORTH COUNTRY CYCLE SPORT 45:44 48:36 1:34:20.0
14 Paul Riggs 2 RACING GREYHOUNDS 46:58 47:57 1:34:54.4
15 Luke Beemer 1 BICYCLE OUTFITTERS INDY 46:33 49:15 1:35:48.4
Photo from North Country Cycle Sport

Without getting out your calculator, it would appear Mike Anderson is Top Banana. And even after getting out your calculator, he is still the first Top Banana of the 2012 season. Surely, he’ll be excited to receive that extra dose of potassium. Here’s the Top Ten thus far:

Mike Anderson at 45 points
Dan Korienek at 25 points
John Cowan at 21 points
Brian Matter at 19 points
Nate Williams at 18 points
Shawn Adams at 17 points
Steve Broglio at 16 points
Jorden Wakeley at 14 points
Mark Paramalee at 14 points
Neil Scharphorn at 12 points
Chad Wells at 9 points

The next Top Banana-inclusive race is May 5 with the Mud, Sweat and Beers. It’s a 1.o race, with 20 points up for grabs. After that, attentions turn to the road double feature of the West Branch Classic Road Race and the Mount Pleasant Road Race in June.

Check back in tomorrow for the Women’s Top Banana scoring!